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3 Ways to put relationships first in your busy schedule



Nicole Poole - published on 02/26/18

When you're short on time to connect, these steps can help you be more intentional with friends and family.

Friendships, romantic relationships, and family ties seem to always fall to the bottom of our priority list. Between work and home life, there is a wonder we have any friends outside of the house. In a world where Facebook posts and Instagram pictures have become our normal forms of communicating, there’s no time like the present to decide that we are going to be more intentional about the people in our lives.

What does being “intentional” mean in terms of others? Being intentional often refers to being purposeful in one’s actions — really thinking about and understanding the feelings, reasons, emotions, and attitudes before doing something. So of course we should not forget about our loved ones in this regard.

With the reality of time rarely really being on our side, here are three ways I am being more intentional about the relationships in my life.

1. Create goals

There is a trend going around now where people are hash-tagging their relationship goals with pictures of celebrity couples such as Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade or even the Royal Family. These hashtags symbolize that these couples inspire us and we want to have a relationship like theirs. Well we may not have our Gabrielle or Prince William yet, but we can still set relationship goals. Every month, I create goals that will get me to my yearly goals. Every week, I set up goals that will help me achieve my monthly goals. Within those goals, I have categories and one of my categories is relationships.

My goals in this category range from calling my dad during my lunch to sending cards to my college friends. This way, having blocked out time for these plans enables me to be more intentional about what I want to accomplish that week, even in my relationships. Don’t sit back and look at ideal relationships, work on your own! Whether it’s taking a friend out to dinner or sending out a text once a week, do something to be a blessing to a friend. Now, that’s #relationshipgoals worthy.

Read more:
How Do I Cope with Too Many Friendships and Not Enough Time?

2. Schedule it

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have too many commitments. Between being a faithful member of my church, applying to law school, and work, my weeks have become a blur. If I don’t schedule it, either it won’t get done or I will do it at risk of not doing something else or losing sleep. I use a passion planner and the one thing I absolutely adore about this planner, is that it gives me the opportunity to combine my work and personal life. As I go through my weekly goals and place them in my schedule, I can schedule that phone call with a friend or that hike my colleague and I have been chatting about.

It’s not a crime to schedule people in. We do it in the office and we schedule workouts so why not schedule out time to be with the people we care about the most? Life is hectic for all of us and by now we should know for many of us, if we don’t write it down, we won’t do it. While tasks such as taking out the trash or writing a brief will most likely be there for us to come back to, the people we care about most may not. Whether it’s writing it down, logging the task in your phone, or setting up alerts on your email, let’s all make an effort to make time for the people in our lives.

3. Communicate honestly

The truth is, many relationships come to an end or get to a point of non-existence because we struggle with communication. I take on a lot because I don’t like to say no, but in the season of applying to law school and coping with the death of family members, I’ve been forced to be honest with myself and those around me. “I cannot do everything.” And as much as I would like to write an “S” on my chest and label myself “superwoman,” even she stuck to one thing at a time. Communication is key when it comes to just about anything in life, but it’s truly key in relationships. Missing lunch or an important life event with a friend is always excusable if we are willing to be honest up front.

We are all human and sometimes we need to admit our humanness to ourselves and others. When I began applying to law school, particularly studying for the LSAT, I told those around me that my time would be limited. I couldn’t plan events, attend some Bible studies, or go away for the weekend. My life for at least three months was focusing on that test and my goal to get into law school. They appreciated my honesty and encouraged me along the way.

Relationships are important. The people we have chosen to join us on our life journey are important and we should tell and show them that every chance we get. No one is going to stay mad forever if we miss a birthday, but some of us may stay mad if we aren’t told that our friends aren’t coming. I find ways to value those in my life and to be intentional about how I show up for them. Whether it’s writing plans down for the week or admitting that I can’t show up to an event, my goal is to make sure the titles I hold are fulfilled and that doesn’t always mean being there but taking out the time to let the person know, “I care too much to make you wonder why I didn’t tell you I was too busy to come in the first place.”


Read more:
This improv comedy trick works wonders in relationships

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